Happy Holidays from AFSCME Ohio Council 8!

Union brothers and sisters,

As we approach the holiday season and come to the end of 2021, I find myself reflecting on the year past.

First of all, I’d like to express my gratitude to our members and their families for the resilience and strength you all have shown. Many of you spent another year on the frontlines of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, keeping our communities running and safe. Your continued service does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Our union and unions across the country showed solidarity that has reinvigorated and galvanized working people, young and old, to stand together. When we fight together, we win.

When we stand together, there is no challenge that we can’t face and conquer.

From our Council 8 family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

R. Sean Grayson
President, AFSCME Ohio Council 8

The History of Veterans Day

The fighting of World War I ceased  when an armistice marked the end of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany. It went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. In 1938, every November 11th was made a legal holiday.  

Originally, Armistice Day was a day to honor veterans of World War I. However, in 1954, after World War II and the Korea War, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day. On June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, Congress passed The Uniform Holiday Act which was intended to ensure all Federal holidays would be celebrated on Mondays creating three-day weekends. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. 

It soon became quite apparent that Veterans Day was a matter of great historic and patriotic significance to a great number of Americans. In 1975   President Gerald R. Ford signed legislation which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. It remains a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Clean Sweep Ohio Mayors

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members mobilized and played a key role making a clean sweep of Ohio’s major cites by electing AFSCME Power In Action’s endorsed Mayoral candidates.

In Cincinnati, AFSCME Council 8’s support helped elect Aftab Pureval who becomes the city’s first Asian-American mayor. Pureval is the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts where workers are represented by AFSCME Local 3156. 

According to Cincinnati Regional Director Renita Jones-Street “we’ve had a good relationship with Mr. Pureval and we are confident that as mayor, we will continue to work together to make a city that works for everyone.”   

“Cleveland’s AFSCME Council 8 members came out in force to help elect Justin Bibb as the city’s next mayor,” said Cleveland Regional Director Council 8 Marquez Brown. 

Winning in a landside victory, Bibb will be first new mayor of Cleveland since the 2006 election of five-term Mayor Frank G. Jackson who did not seek re-election. Brown said Council 8 members knocked on 6,000 doors and made more than 5,000 phone calls on Bibbs behalf.

In Dayton, two-term City Commissioner Jeffrey Mims will be the city’s next mayor after easily defeating his opponent winning more than two-thirds of the votes cast. Mims, 74, is a former educator and at one time served as the president of the Dayton Education Association, the union representing the city’s public school teachers.

Dayton Regional Director Pete McLinden said Mims is a long time public servant “and has always been a strong advocate for unions and worker’s rights.”   

Mims will be the city’s first new mayor since 2013. He replaces Nan Whaley who is now running for governor.

With strong support from Toledo’s Council 8 members who hit the streets and made phone calls, voters re-electedMayor Wade Kapszukiewicz to a second term by an overwhelming 70% to 30% margin. 

Prior to becoming Mayor in 2018, Kapszukiewicz was Lucas County Treasurer, served one term on the Lucas County Board of Education and was a Toledo city councilman for nearly seven years.

“Council 8 members gave their full support to re-elect Mayor Kapszukiewicz,” said Toledo Regional Director Dawn Bailey. “He has been a solid friend of AFSCME and the Toledo labor community and we’re confident he will keep Toledo growing.” 

  Also in the Toledo Region city of Lima voters went to the polls and elected Sharetta Smith its next mayor, replacing Mayor David J. Berger who held the office for 32 years. In addition, Smith made history by becoming the city’s first woman and its first African American mayor.

“AFSCME members get active when they can elect candidates who support labor and Ohio’s working families,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson. “We engaged our communities and we talked to our co-workers friends, neighbors and family. That’s how we win elections. It’s hard work, but no one does it better than AFSCME!”.

Albers Re-Elected to OPERS Board of Trustees

Julie Albers

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees has certified the re-election of Julie Albers to a four-year term on the OPERS Board of Trustees representing county employees.

A 30-year employee of Cuyahoga County’s MetroHealth Hospital, Julie has a personal stake in a secure retirement.  As a registered Respiratory Therapist,  she brings an important healthcare point of view to the OPERS board of trustees.  

First elected to represent county employees on the OPERS Board Of Trustees in 2017, she understands that all career county employees depend on a pension they can count on.

“I believe it’s vital to make sure OPERS provides a pension that meets the needs of county employees and all of Ohio’s public employees. I’m committed to continue making sure no one is left behind.”

According to AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson, AFSCME and its labor allies have a majority on the board “This is an example of the clout only a unified statewide organization has,” he said.   

Albers has been an active AFSCME member since joining the union in 1991. In 2007, Cleveland’s Council 8 members elected her Regional Vice President, and in 2020, she became Ohio Council 8’s Recording Secretary. In addition she also serves on the Ohio AFSCME Care Plan Board of Trustees

Albers joins AFSCME Local 11/OCSEA President Chris Mabe representing state employees, AFSCME Local 3360 University of Toledo Medical Center President Randy Desposito representing Non-teaching College/University Employees, and former Dayton AFSCME Local 101 leader Ken Thomas representing Municipal Employees on the 11-member board.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. Board members also authorize the investments made with the system’s funds. They receive no compensation for their service to OPERS.

Mourning Richard Trumka

Richard Trumka

It is with a heavy heart we mourn the untimely passing of national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.  Richard Trumka was a tireless advocate for workers’ rights and always stood with AFSCME to defend the rights of public employees.

      Rich began his work in the labor movement as a coal miner and rose through the ranks to become the leader of the United Mine Workers of America and then became the leader of the national AFL-CIO. Throughout his career he never forgot where he came from and was always on the side of workers on every issue and in every  struggle.

      Rich was on our side when anti-union forces in Ohio tried to take away our hard won collective bargaining rights in 2011. He was with us leading the labor movement’s response to the most anti-worker presidential administration in our lifetime.

      Rich was labor’s voice in the media, in congress, and more importantly, with us in person on the picket line, at rallies and demonstrations, and graced our AFSCME conventions with his message of solidarity and the key part public employees play in communities in Ohio and the nation.

      We can all honor Rich’s legacy by fighting to pass the PRO Act and building solidarity with working people every chance we get. We are sending our love and prayers to the Trumka family and everyone in the AFL-CIO and labor movement as we mourn the loss of a true leader and a strong voice for workers in America and around the world. 
R. Sean Grayson,
President AFSCME Ohio Council 8, AFL-CIO

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarship Winners 2021!

The Ohio Council 8 Executive Board is pleased to announce that Simone Hester has been awarded the Patricia Kittle Scholarship and Michael Patterson has been awarded the Leroy Elmore Scholarship as part of the Ohio Council 8 2021 Family Scholarship program.

Simone Hester

Simone is the daughter of Sunday McDuffey is a 16-year member of AFSCME Local 3411, which represents employees of the Toledo City Clerks office.

A graduate of the Toledo School for the Arts, Simone was a motivated student who achieved an outstanding academic record and skill as an artist. In addition, she participated in many school and community activities including serving as a vocal advocate for several medical causes in her community.

In her winning essay, Montgomery saw firsthand the difference a union can make.  As the child of a single parent “the opportunity to become a union member provided my mother with one of the most important things she desperately needed  – job security.”

Simone will be attending Kent State University this fall and plans to follow her passion as an artist and become a fashion designer.       

Michael Patterson

The 2021 men’s scholarship winner, Michael Patterson, is the son of 19-year AFSCME Local 0027 member Robin Patterson. An active member of the union representing Cuyahoga County office of Child Support Services, she serves on the union’s executive board. 

Michael graduated from Euclid Hills High School, where he was an active student with a strong academic record.  He is a member of the National Honor Society, was the, captain of the varsity basketball team for two consecutive years and was respected by his classmates and teachers. 

In his winning essay, Michael recounted lessons he learned through his mother’s association with AFSCME.  “My mother would always say ‘there is strength in numbers” and through her actions I learned a group has more power than a single person.”

Michael will be attending John Carroll University in the fall where he plans on pursing a communications degree with a goal of becoming a sports reporter.

The 2021 AFSCME Ohio Council 8 Scholarships are named in honor of Patricia “Pat” Kittle and Leroy Elmore .

Sister Kittle worked as a registered nurse at Trumbull Regional Medical Center for more than 42 years. A graduate of the Trumbull Memorial School of Nursing, she embarked on a career dedicated to the selfless care for others. 

A key activist during the successful nine-day strike for union recognition in 1999, Pat went on to serve as vice president of AFSCME Local 2026 for 20 years and in 2019, she became Union President. 

A caring individual, she was regarded as a person who could solve any problem with grace and efficiency. Pat passed away in June of 2020.

Brother Elmore started his health care career in the 1960’s and was employed by Cleveland’s Mt. Sinai Hospital as a pathology assistant starting in 1971.

A year later, he was instrumental in forming an AFSCME local union at the hospital and served as a member, steward and union president for more than ten years. In 1985, he joined the AFSCME first as an organizer and later he became an Ohio Council 8 staff representative and in 1998, he became Cleveland Regional Director. 

In 2001, he joined the AFSCME Ohio Care Plan as Plan Administrator and served for 12 years before retiring, topping off his 39-year AFSCME career.

Leroy lives in Euclid Ohio and is still active in the community.

Ohio Council 8 First Vice President Marcia Knox, chairperson of the executive board committee that reviews the scholarship applications, wished Simone and Michael the best of luck pursuing their higher education goals.  

The Ohio Council 8 Family Scholarship program was established in 1982.

Memorial Day 2021

AFSCME Local 771 City of Ironton Ohio members putting flags up along the city’s flood wall along the Ohio River. Member, Brain Caudil handing flags up to Wade Jenkins, and member Joe Brammer -not shown – is driving the truck.

On Monday, May 31st America will remember the brave men and women who gave their lives for our country. From large cities to small towns AFSCME Ohio Council 8 members across the state take great pride in honoring those who have served our nation.

Members in Council 8’s Athens region, serving 14 counties in Southeastern Ohio, included Ohio River towns of Ironton and Portsmouth, members of AFSCME Local 771 and AFSCME Local 1039 were on the job helping their communities honor those that served.

“Our members show their civic spirit every day on the job, but Memorial Day weekend is special,” said Athens Regional Vice President John Ackison, president of AFSCME Local 1699 representing Ohio University Employees in Athens, Ohio.

“Our members feel this is important and they take it seriously. Our region is made up of many smaller cities like Ironton and Portsmouth where our members are especially proud because most have family members who served the nation and they take putting up Memorial Day decorations as a personal duty as well as a job,” Ackison said.  

AFSCME Local 1039 City of Portsmouth members manicuring the city cemetery for Memorial Day weekend.

The first national celebration of Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. 100 years later in 1968, Congress established Memorial Day as a Federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.

AFSCME Local 1252 Members Make Gains

Local 1252 members ratify contract by overwhelming margin in drive-through voting

The members of AFSCME Local 1252, representing the staff at OhioHealth O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens ratified an agreement that improved wages and benefits for more than 350 nurses, respiratory technicians and other health care professionals and support personal covered by the new 2-year agreement.  

In addition to an average wage increase of 3 percent each year, the contract maintained current benefits along with fully-employer paid AFSCME Ohio Care Plan coverage including dental, prescription drug, vision, life insurance and Care Plan Teledoc – which enables members to talk to a doctor able to consult, diagnose and prescribe over the phone at no cost. 

Improvements to the current contract include the addition of 12 weeks paid maternity leave, and in addition paid sick time, short-term disability leave at 70% pay, and 80 hours of bereavement leave. 

“The committee did a great job and we made some big gains that are important to our members,” said Union President Pat Waller. “A large portion of our members are women and the addition of paid maternity leave is a huge improvement over relying on sick leave as we did in the previous contact,” she said.

Athens Firefighter Loses Life in Line of Duty

AFSCME Ohio Council 8 is saddened to report the passing of Nelsonville Ohio senior firefighter Jeff Armes, who died in the line of duty at the scene of a structure fire Sunday, May 2, 2021.

A member of AFSCME Local 2845B, Armes, 38, of Nelsonville, collapsed while actively fighting a fire. Fellow firefighters and EMS administered CPR and advanced life support care. Armes was transported by Athens County EMS to OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital in Athens where he was pronounced dead.

He had worked as a fireman for the Nelsonville Fire Department since 2011 and was a longtime volunteer for the Starr Township, Hocking County, Ohio fire department.

Jeffrey is survived by his parents, loving wife, Lezlee Renee and children, Ayden and Teylar Armes.

“Jeffery will be greatly missed by our union family,” said AFSCME Ohio Council 8 President R. Sean Grayson. “We offer his friends and family our sincere condolences.”

Celebrating National Nurses Day

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Known as “The Lady With the Lamp,”  Florence Nightingale was a British nurse, social reformer and statistician best known as the founder of modern nursing.

National Nurses Week is devoted to thanking nurses and other healthcare workers for the hard work they do every day keeping patients healthy, especially after a year of stress and long hours caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 1953, Dorothy Sutherland, an employee at the United States Department of Health, sent a letter to President Eisenhower proposing a National Nurses Day. An official proclamation was not made. The following year, people began celebrating National Nurses Week on their own.

In 1974, President Nixon issued a proclamation by the White House as establishing a National Nurse Week. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982.

Since then the nation has used this opportunity to recognize nurses everywhere and celebrate their dedication and commitment to their patients and their profession. 

Now more than ever it is time to recognize AFSCME Ohio Council 8 and all nurses.

6800 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio, 43085-2512
Phone: 614-841-1918
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